Academic Assistance, Anyone? How About Everyone.
New and Improving
As first-year and returning students start a new year at AU, they might notice a new Office of Campus Life department in Mary Graydon Center. It’s a good department to notice, in fact, as the Academic Support & Access Center’s goal is to help every AU student succeed in the classroom.
The new department formed this summer when the Academic Support Center and Disability Support Services joined together as one.
Senior director for the ASAC Christopher Cruz Cullari has worked in education for the past 15 years. He sees this merging of departments as a way to better provide the quality services that the departments previously offered separately.
“We believe the structure will enhance and streamline services to students and provide an opportunity for deeper learning and access,” he said.
Those services include various forms of academic assistance for all AU students; a Writing Lab; workshops on time management; individual tutoring; specialized support for those with disabilities, including testing accommodations and adaptive technology; and—according to Cruz Cullari—much more.
“We have a whole program to support student-athletes. We have a successful supplemental instruction program that serves about fifteen hundred students,” he said. “Almost a thousand tutoring hours come out of this area.”
Forming the new department, however, is the just the first step in improving students’ already stellar academic experience at AU.
“This new structure lays the groundwork for plans for the future where we can be involved in deeper-level programming for students. One example includes thinking about how we can support diverse groups of students in math and sciences,” Cruz Cullari explained.
One major piece of assisting the AU student body includes making courses accessible for each and every student. As a result, Cruz Cullari is making Universal Design a top priority for the coming year.
“We’ll be engaging in a dialogue with faculty to foster thinking about utilizing UD strategies in their courses, syllabus construction, and in the way they deliver content to students,” he said. “That means thinking about the research that comes from serving students with disabilities in higher ed and how drawing from that research can benefit all students.”
It’s a goal that’s written into AU’s own strategic plan, as the institution strives to provide an unsurpassed academic experience for all of its wonks.
For the moment—while the new center develops and rolls out its plans—Cruz Cullari has advice for anyone looking to improve their studies and GPA from the start of this year.
He wants everyone to feel welcome and invited to use the department’s services.
“It’s very common that students wait until there is a problem before they seek out a place like the ASAC,” he said. “I would encourage students to be proactive and think about what are the areas where they’ve typically needed assistance and to come to the ASAC early in the semester to seek help.”
In other words, this new center’s doors are already wide open, just waiting for students to come in.
Learn more about the Academic Support & Access Center and what it offers.